Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Take Charge!

Charging of your devices is something many people overlook until it's too late! Have you noticed your laptop, tablet or phone isn't holding charge for as long as it used to? It's probably because you've neglected to charge the device as per the manufacturers instructions.

Ok... before we start... there are a plethora of differing opinions regarding best practices of charging the batteries in your tech, so before we dive in to my tips let's look at the science bit...

Battery life 

Rechargeable battery life is typically defined as the number of full charge-discharge cycles before significant capacity loss. Inactive storage may also reduce capacity.Manufacturers' information typically specify lifespan in terms of the number of cycles (e.g., capacity dropping linearly to 80% over 500 cycles), with no mention of chronological age. Research rejects this common industry practice. 

On average, lifetimes consist of 1000 cycles, although battery performance is rarely specified for more than 500 cycles. This means that batteries of mobile phones, or other hand-held devices in daily use, are not expected to last longer than three years. Some batteries based on carbon anodes offer more than 10,000 cycles. As a battery discharges, its voltage gradually diminishes. When depleted below the protection circuit's low-voltage threshold (2.4 to 2.9 V/cell, depending on chemistry) the circuit disconnects and stops discharging until recharged. As discharge progresses, metallic cell contents plate onto its internal structure, creating an unwanted discharge path. 

Defining battery life via full discharge cycles, is the industry standard, but may be biased, since full depth of discharge (DoD)/recharge may itself diminish battery life, compared to cumulative Ah partial discharge/charge performance. Projection from the standard to specific use patterns may require additional factors, e.g. DoD, rate of discharge, temperature, etc. Battery life is one of the major focuses of lithium-ion battery research. Variability A 2015 study by Andreas Gutsch of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology found that lithium-ion battery lifespan could vary by a factor of five, with some Li-ion cells losing 30% of their capacity after 1,000 cycles, and others having better capacity after 5,000 cycles. The study also found that safety standards for some batteries were not met. For stationary energy storage it was estimated that batteries with lifespans of at least 3,000 cycles were needed for profitable operation. 


Over their lifespan, batteries degrade progressively with reduced capacity, cycle life, and safety due to chemical changes to the electrodes. Capacity loss/fade is expressed as a percentage of initial capacity after a number of cycles (e.g., 30% loss after 1,000 cycles). Fade can be separated into calendar loss and cycling loss. Calendar loss results from the passage of time and is measured from the maximum state of charge. Cycling loss is due to usage and depends on both the maximum state of charge and the depth of discharge.

My tips for maintaining a healthy battery life...

  1. Always charge fully to 100% whenever possible. In simple terms this let's the battery know where "Full" is.
  2. Always run your batter near empty before charging.
  3. Never just leave your charger plugged in when not needed, this will massively reduce the overall life of your battery. This is a very common mistake made my laptop owners.
  4. If your device allows carry a fully charged spare battery. This will save you having to partially charge your battery in an emergency. External charger cases are available for most devices without interchangeable batteries.
  5. If not set by default switch on the % indicator so you'll know when you're starting to run low on charge.

If you need help with battery issues call The Computer Wiz on 01553 660941 or email

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